Eh? Idol on a Tuesday? Has the world gone mad? Well clearly it has, as we discovered last night when Mr Unique P. Individualson (aka Bobby Flynn) was UNCEREMONIOUSLY DUMPED from the Idol lineup after hundreds of thousands of insecure teenage girls voted for Shuffles McBalletflats instead. Well, actually, there was a fair bit of ceremony, what with it being a TV show and all. Not to mention the crap they wrote about it over on Idol Central - jeez, anyone would think the man had been killed by a stingray or something.
Fortunately my favourite Idol was allowed back in the sandpit for one more playgroup session on tonight's "Up Close and Personal" episode. Ken Doll assures us it's a "WORLD FIRST" for Idol in which the contestants can sing their own songs and play their own guitars (which by the way is a "WORLD FIRST") without the hassle of the judges sitting in (also a "WORLD FIRST"). Oh, and did we mention tonight's show is a "WORLD FIRST"?
(World) first up is Dean, who I am starting to suspect might be wearing a wig. Or at the very least, is an alien, because surely NO ONE'S hair can look exactly the same like that every single day. Surely. He's wearing a denim jacket from Goodwill and a t shirt, but let's face it, he's still pretty hot. He announces he'll be singing one of his own songs. Ken Doll asks what it's about. "It's about change," says Dean. "It's called Change." Fairly appropriate title, then. I think perhaps he is singing about spare change in a homage to his busking roots back in the streets of Joburg, but then I remember he's a virgin and hasn't actually had any roots yet. He is joined on stage by some dude called Rex, who according to Dean is the best guitar player in Australia. Of course he is.
The song itself isn't bad, but it's not good either. Sample lyric: "Change melts us down and moulds us round into who we are." Moulding us round? Hmm, not sure about that one Deano, but I could definitely hear this played on the radio. Sure, Change would be the kind of song that would make me CHANGE stations, but nevertheless...
And the judges say...NOTHING! Because they're all at a fondue and schnapps key party at Marcia's place in North Ryde.
Time to throw to an adbreak, with Monkey Boy saying "We'll see if people like what Lisa Mitchell has to show off next" to which I scream "NO WE WON'T!". My quickly-becoming-regular-Idol-sidekick Raoul adds "Slapbag", prompting me to gurgle "Little whore", both of which are probably unecessarily harsh comments but hey, that's what you get when you're responsible for fucking up my Bobby Flynn Sundays.
Back from the ads and Lisa steps on stage in one of her typically stupid outfits but still looking cute as hell, damn her eyes and a pox on her house. She's put on some sort of white, loose-fitting tank top that looks like something a weight lifter would wear to the gym in 1984, and teamed it with a black mini and of course, tights. Clearly she has sold her shares at Jay Jay's and bought new ones at Kaiser, as she's practically living in bloody tights lately. Together with ridiculously exaggerated false eyelashes, the overall look has a very unnerving Clockwork Orange feel. All she needs is a cane and a bowler hat and she'll be ready to bash the shit out of unsuspecting homeless people with her legions of teenage girl droogies. And GOD knows what she's done with her hair, which is exploding out both sides of her head like she decided to casually stick her finger in a power socket on the way to the stage. It looks like two bats are attacking her ears - perhaps it's some sort of strange tribute to Hunter S Thompson ("I can't sing here - this is BAT COUNTRY!") but I doubt it. Ken Doll interviews her about the song she's going to sing and Lisa says...well WHO THE FUCK KNOWS what she says? Who the hell knows what she EVER says? The girl sounds permanently like she's been caught out scarfing a kilo of toffee and accidentally glued her teeth together.
Her song is called Too Far Gone and actually, it's alright. Really, it is. Especially for a 16 year old. It took me back to the audition episode in which she played one of her own songs and blew everyone's mind, including mine. Yes, I admit it: there was a time when I was pro Lisa Mitchell. But soon, as with tonight, her annoying singing style and kooky accent drove me slowly insane, and now all I want her to do is shut up. Or you know, SING NORMALLY! I know they say it "adds vocal interest" when you pronounce the word "dawn" as "dahhhh-ehhh-innnn" but in reality it just makes people want to punch you.
Next up is Ricky "I Haven't Got the Lyrics on My Hand This Time, Honest" Muscat, who bounds on stage in a shiny, shiny brown leather jacket and finally releases his inner wog for all to see. We knew it was in there, Ricky, good onya for letting it out, tiger! "It's crazy, all my fans are going crazy back in Werribee," he chortles excitedly. His three fans in the front row wearing home made TEAM RICKY t shirts squeal. Ken Doll asks him what it's like being one of only two single blokes in the Idol mansion. "It's crazy," says Ricky. "Me and Dean are having a ball!" So that settles THAT rumour then.
Given that Ricky is also one of only two Idols who can't write original songs, he's chosen to sing what he clearly thinks is an obscure Michael Jackson track, Off the Wall. Except he's stripped the funk right out of it, slowed it down and turned it into a Justin Timberlake meets Usher meets Valium remix. Yawn.
"Are they epaulettes on his jacket?" I say, stunned.
"What? Does he have epilepsy?" says Raoul.
Perhaps not, but one of the cameramen certainly seems to as we are treated to a weird jump cut to the audience and then 30 seconds of shaky film of another cameraman, Blair Witch style. It's possibly the most exciting part of Ricky's performance.
Damien Leith has foregone the guitar option for a dashing electric piano, prompting Raoul to blurt out "What a faggoty bar cabaret player!" quickly followed by "I am so articumalate." Quite. Damien tells Ken Doll how he used to be in a "family band" with his brothers and sisters back in the green, green hills of Paddyland, which I can only assume was sort of like this:
Come on everybody get happy!
He then announces he grew long hair and played in a metal cover band singing Pantera and Megadeth, so who knows what to believe. Clearly Irish metal was about as successful as Irish disco. Tonight he sings one of his own songs called Sky, which has utterly crap lyrics like "I'm so happy with who I am, it's a lovely day". Really. I'm not joking. He clearly needs more angst in his life for artistic inspiration - fortunately hs weekly slayings on Idol will probably help in that regard. He's rather James Blunt-ish, which doesn't help my appraisal of either him or the song. Raoul thinks he's a bit Alex Lloyd-ish. I concur.
Next up we have Chris Murphy, dressed in khaki as a tribute to Steve Irwin. Having grown bored with the WORLD FIRST, Raoul was singing and muttering randomly over most of Murphy's interview with Monkey Boy, so I have no idea what was said, but he sings his song Diamond Days, possibly in celebration of 60th anniversaries everywhere. It's a good old Aussie pub rockin' song with a hint of The Darkness, Eskimo Joe and The Corrs. Put that in your blender and mix it! As much as we bitch about how much we dislike the song, both Raoul and I are tapping our feet to the beat. We just can't help being drawn into that middle-of-the-road soft rock.
Then it's Jess Mauboy who looks simply stunning in a black satin evening gown with diamond detailing and a sleek updo. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. She is clearly Sheridan Tyler's wet dream. She says she's going to do something completely different from the norm tonight, and I sit on the edge of my seat waiting for her to rip out a bit of Killing in the Name Of. Instead, she perches herself on a stool next to John Foreman's piano like some 1940s starlet and launches into What the World Needs Now. Sigh. I'll tell you what the world needs now, Jess, it needs YOU to pull out a bit of bloody FUNK, THAT'S what it needs! As usual her voice is perfection but this has got to be the most boring performance of the night. Given that this show is supposedly a fundraiser for sick kids at Ronald McDonald House, if this goes any slower they're in danger of losing half the audience.
"WHAT THE WOOOORRRRRLLLLLLD NEEEEEEEEEDS NOOOOOOOOOO-O-O-O-O--OOOOOW...."
"Mummy, I need my insulin!"
"Not yet darling, we just have to wait for the pretty lady to stop singing..."
"IS LOOOOOOOOOVE, SWEEEE-E-E-E-E-EEEEET LOOOOOO-O-O-O-OOOOVE..."
(And just quietly: hello - McDonalds? YOU have a fair bit of money, actually. Maybe YOU could fund your own fucking charity instead of asking people to donate all the time? Just a thought.)
Christ, we're both looking at our watches already and she's only up to the second verse. "The test pattern will come on after this," says Raoul.
Finally it's all over and we're onto the big, fat finale from *sob sob* everyone's favourite Idol *sob sob* Bobby "Out Like" Flynn. Dressed in jeans and a grey suit jacket, he looks like he's borrowed tonight's outfit from Ken Doll, which isn't really such a bad thing. But what's that on his face? Is his mascara running? Has he smudged his eyeliner? Or has he channeled Prince and painted teardrops on his face to symbolise his anger at being kicked off before Mumbles McBoring?
Whatever, he sings his most excellent song The Boy Had Trouble which I am proud to say I downloaded from his band's MySpace page the second I saw his very first audition all those *sob sob* months ago *sob*. To be honest it's not the greatest performance - the MySpace version is much better, despite it not being mixed properly and the drums sounding like cardboard boxes (at least, so says drummer extraordinaire Raoul). But he does a whistle solo which no one has heard since Otis Redding's Dock of the Bay, and so we don't really mind. Oh Bobby, Bobby, Bobby, why did you have to go?
And so concludes the love fest.